Cape May County Freeholders Pass Budget

first_imgCape May County passed its 2019 budget on first reading on Tuesday, Feb. 26.Below is the budget message as it was presented by Cape May County Freeholder Director Gerald Thornton:The budget being introduced today has taken the administrative staff months to prepare and countless hours of research and coordination with Department Heads to ensure it provides funding to maintain core levels of service, capital improvements, sustainable growth and an enhanced quality of life for our citizens.The Budget Team has worked diligently to create a document that best reflects this government’s mission to provide services to our residents, invest in our future and adhere to the mandated 2 percent State CAP. The County came in below the State CAP at 1.5 percent. The 2019 budget reflects the Board’s continued conservative financial policies that have served this County well and have allowed us to maintain a strong financial rating.Understand, the job does not end with the adoption of the budget. We carefully monitor spending throughout the year and adjust to changes in priorities and programs.The total budget for 2019 is $161.2 million. This budget reflects an overall increase of 5.6 percent over 2018. The increase will enable the County to maintain essential services as well as support capital improvement projects for improvements that include county roads and bridges.The tax rate for 2019 is up three-tenths of a cent. Revenue increased 4.75 percent, while the levy raised in support of the 2019 budget is $118.7 million. The tax rate is projected to be .2276 in 2019, which is an increase of three-tenths of a cent.The County was able to generate a surplus of $12.8 million, which pushed the total surplus to $23 million for the first time in several years. The County’s anticipated surplus in the budget is $11 million, which is 47 percent of the available surplus, and consistent with County policy.Cape May County is not isolated from the social problems that have become a national crisis and we are joining with community organizations to address these issues head on. Cape May County government is working on many fronts to deal with the issues that are hurting our families.We are establishing guidelines to help provide funds to address the homeless population and the Department of Social Services is implementing many new programs to better identify and assist those in need. We are expanding the drug court and adding additional staffing and training to the Prosecutor’s Office to help fight the opioid epidemic that his facing our country.This Board takes pride in the accomplishments and improvements made over the past several years. Core services and infrastructure improvements, public safety, health and human services are paramount in our spending plan. We are continuing to work to bring new jobs and economic opportunities to the county. The Office of Emergency Management has instituted programs that will protect lives and properties before, during and after natural disasters.I am proud to report that many outstanding county programs have gained state and national recognition. Cape May County is in the forefront in the State with innovative programs in public safety and training, libraries, parks, tourism and emergency management. Programs that have earned national awards include: the Office of Emergency Management, Human Resources Wellness Program, the Library system, the Park and Zoo and Public Safety and Training program, to name a few.In conclusion, we believe this is a good budget that is fair and balanced and will provide the ability to maintain core services while tackling necessary and important projects. Cape May County Board of Chosen Freeholderslast_img

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